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Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Marches Proudly in Camellia Festival Parade

Hindu Youth of Los Angeles March for First Time in the Famous Camellia Festival

Even a cold winter day, with slight drizzle could not stop the enthusiasm of the Hindu community members gathered in Temple City, which is a beautiful community located about 20 Kilometers North East of downtown Los Angeles. There was much excitement in the air for about 100 members belonging to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS). Some of them had driven 80 miles to cheer their fellow community members marching for the first time in the Camellia Festival. 

The Camellia parade is an annual event organized by Temple City, California since 1944. This is being done with the intention of bringing the diverse communities of their city together. The event for year 2020 was held on Saturday, February 22. Mr. Ravi Chilakamarri, one of the team member who coordinated HSS’s participation in the event,  said the preparation started right away when they received confirmation from the city last month. HSS volunteers from both Los Angeles north and south divisions came together for the event. The band  primarily comprised of teenagers with some pre-teens and adults. In total 38 volunteers participated in the parade.

“Due to the geographic distances involved, the band members had to travel very long distances for their practice sessions. The HSS spirit of selfless service and motivation made it easy for them. Some had to start by 5 AM and travel 80 miles (one way) to practice with the group” said Mr. Chilakamarri. 

The band had drums (Aanak), trumpets (Shankh), recorders (Vamshi) and bass drum (Panav). They played the following rachanas in order: Kiran, Kedar, Bhoop, Tilang and Tilakkamod. The march took about 30 minutes to cover a distance of one and a half kilometer.

The teenagers shared that while few of them felt anticipation for first few minutes of the parade, it was overall a fun and enjoyable experience. The presence of family, friends and community members along the route gave them much delight. HSS volunteers left the venue with a sense of pride, honor and joy of coming together to represent and create awareness about Hindu community. The volunteering activities of HSS was announced over loud speakers when the band approached the area where the honorable Mayor and panel of judges were seated. 

After the event, HSS thanked the city officials who in turn requested HSS to continue to participate in future Camellia festival events.

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